I’m sitting on a couch, blanket on my lap, watching snow falling outside and skiers winding their way down uncrowded slopes. Yep. We’re in Steamboat again. Steamboat Springs is our home away from home because, well, we have a vacation place here. We share it with family (so it’s not technically solely ours, per se), but it’s definitely a luxury and it’s definitely home. I can’t explain it, but somehow I am more relaxed in this townhouse than I am nearly anywhere else, including our home in Denver. So, sitting here, enjoying the stillness of the scenery, I am struck by how my need to move and go and do dissipates when I am here. I could sit here and enjoy the view and just relax all day and not “do” anything. And that is huge for a non-stop squirrel like me.
At home in Denver, there are always things I think I should be doing. “Should” is such a dirty word, and it’s difficult to escape. Laundry, dishes, and cleaning greet me at every turn. Obligations to school, neighborhood, family, and social events constantly murmur for my attention. I spend hours a day in my car, negotiating traffic and attempting to get as much done as possible during my short time for solid accomplishment while the kids are in school. I’m pulled in every direction by oodles of things I need to finish in a brief period of time. In Steamboat, however, there is very little of that, which is why I relax. The options for things to do are endless, but I don’t have anything I need to be doing. I can choose what I want to do instead of fighting to accomplish things I think I should do. I’m here to exist as a human BEing and not a human DOing. How refreshing is that?
Last night we went to enjoy the hot springs pool. Today we’re going to the Winter Carnival, an event where the local children compete in timed events on the snowy main street in town. The kids are on skis or snowboards, pulled by horses down the street, while they try to throw rings into boxes. The Winter Carnival raises funds for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (SSWSC), a group that trains local children in winter sports events. Because of their dedication to training children, Steamboat Springs has produced more winter olympians than any other town in the country, sixty-nine to be exact. After the events this morning, we’ll be heading out with friends on our snowshoes for our own winter wonderland adventure. And, tonight when we’re at the Night Extravaganza watching future Olympians weaving their way down Howelsen Hill carrying lighted torches, we will revel in the small-town pride that makes Steamboat so great.
A while back I added one of those vinyl sayings to the wall here. It’s a Chinese proverb that explains, “Tension is who you think you should be; relaxation is who you are.” There is unbelievable truth in that statement. When I’m here, the tension is gone and the relaxation seeps into my skin until eventually it overwhelms me and oozes back out my pores. I’m genuinely able just to exist, enjoy, and be myself without pretension, stress, worry, tasks, or those rotten, dirty “shoulds.”
I need to find more places like this. I need to find places of stillness in our home in Denver, in my car, in the everyday places that I frequent so I can live more authentically as myself and spend less time trying to be who I think I should be. After all, I am already who I should be. I just need to relax more and be myself.